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Companies need to adapt to new communication demands from millennials

TechSmith has warned businesses younger generations have new multimedia-based communication demands

Organisations need to do more to accommodate the changing communication needs of younger employees entering the workplace, according to TechSmith.

The video software company surveyed 1,291 millennial workers, who are categorised as those born between 1981 and 1997, and 862 individuals born between 1946 and 1964 (known as baby boomers).

Younger employees typically want to use more image or video-based communication platforms (67% and 60% respectively) in the workplace, which could be linked to the fact 58% use these media these platforms outside of work.

Nearly half (47%) of millennials said their company only offers text-based email, and 44% said their organisation’s methods are outdated.

In addition to this, 43% of young workers become demotivated by poor communication, compared with 27% of the baby boomers.

TechSmith CEO Wendy Hamilton said businesses need to adapt to changing communication demands and expectations of the younger generation, particularly as members of Generation Z (those born after 1995) start to enter the workplace too.

“Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which rely heavily on visual content for engagement, are the go-to way of connecting outside of work because this is how people prefer to communicate,” she said. “Not only that, but using screencasts and videos in workplace communications makes it easier to get a message across clearly and concisely.”

Read more about millennials

This theory echoes the thoughts of Allan Leinwand, chief technology officer of service management firm ServiceNow. He said Generation Z has become “digitally dependent” and will require new and flexible forms of communication, such as what they are used to at home.

TechSmith also tested 125 office workers to judge the impact of multimedia communication on work. The employees were given instructions on how to complete three tasks, either by text, text with images or a video. Researcher Alastair Goode then judged their performance based on efficiency and understanding.

He found 67% of the test subjects worked better with images or video than text alone, and said the visual communication “prompts a deeper level of understanding and a more engaging experience for audiences”.

TechSmith’s Hamilton said companies keen to accommodate the communication habits of younger workers should do so gradually. “Don’t overwhelm yourself or your employees by requiring all messages to include visuals,” she said.

“You could start by taking screenshots and marking them up to show changes you’d like to see on the company website, or make a short screencast video of how to access your new online HR system.”

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